By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Before this achievement, the project was displayed through social media which gave them a voice to accomplish their goal and bring it to it's fruition. Leaders like Zakaria and Wauters then had a voice and a platform and began to create a structure to promote skateboarding as a force for good in the community.
This park was a DIY project where the skate community was involved completely. They started the skatepark building after they gathered the money to get it. "Turns out the park site used to be a Circassian refugee camp back in 1948," they said on their Instagram account.
In addition, the final result comes with curves, gabs, ledges, stairs, ramp, besides the spacious flat ground, perfect to start skateboarding and teach everyone who wants to learn, both people from Jordan and its refugees.
Amman is the capital of Jordan, this place is very popular for its architecture ruins, bible stories, it's proximity to Jerusalem and a breathtaking landscape. The skateboarding community here has been maintained thanks to 7Hills. There, doors are open to learning skateboarding with the all the good stuff necessary to do so.
"Jordan hosts a multitude of refugees from neighboring countries. Today, there are 57 nationalities present in Jordan. It is one of the top 10 countries to host the largest number of refugees in the world," they state on their official website.
Its Purpose Has Changed Lives in Jordan
Amman has seen huge development since the skatepark came to their city, so they have been taking well care of the project. The city needed to be renovated and the building project helped them to guide their lives in the same way but separated it from conflicts and divisions.
A lot of these refugee families are coming with kids to Jordan, there are at least 7 refugee camps, hence the name of the skatepark. "There is an immense lack of public spaces and free recreational outlets available for the youth in the city of Amman. Most recreational spaces tend to be private or residential.
Likewise, its work serve to unite all the Jordanian families, but are serving people from countries like Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen, all of them with a new passion, things and giving them something in common besides the place where they live.
“All the barriers, or all the differences, fade away. Skateboarding is quite intense and requires a mental battle and physical balance in every individual, so it’s really easy to forget everything around you,” Kas Wautersm, 7Hills director said to Memo.
In that way, kids have learned a lot and value each effort. They have five teachers, Hakiem, Glaith, Dayyeh, Asem, Yazan and Madian; with them teaching skateboarding classes are fun and they always make sure to give a good experience and increase the number of participants.
Since then, 7Hills has made events like festivals, meetups, concerts and contests where you can witness huge attendance. This collective project let all of them get interested in skateboarding to see what was going on with all the kids.
They are constantly providing knowledge with workshops, classes on how to skate, even how to build a spot. That kind of space makes a contribution to the kids and offers entertainment to the girls and boards and skateboarding gear.
Who Can Be Part of This Project?
Everyone can skate and this organization has it clear, the skatepark is always going to be for the community. However, the Sudanese people's case was very important during the process. It began with kids not going to school and then kids not missing a skateboarding class.
Nowadays this community has turned into one of the most lively and attended in the area, and much of their process has been supported by over 150 youth.
"They have recently started hosting a micro-market, selling beanies and other items they make themselves,” Wauters added. He also said that the funds are paying for transport, skateboards, supplies and making a self-sustainable project.
Additionally, they are always trying to maintain equal treatment for all. "We host weekly girls-only skate classes at 7Hills. Female participation averages around 40%, with a goal of reaching at least 50% participation throughout our programs," they write on their website. This means that they do good work to change attitudes and be inclusive with the girls.
According to the team, skateboarding is a way of learning how to confront any life issue and it's something that happens when we fall and stand up to start again.
“Skateboarding entails more failure than success initially. To land a trick, you have to fall at least 100 times at first, so it teaches children that it’s acceptable for people to fail and fail again, and then succeed,” Kas said during his interview with MEMO.
Currently, the NGO has been working on making the skatepark bigger and inclusive with more modalities and activities like breakdancing, chess and table-tennis. "We want the park to be a space where everyone who lives in the city can come together and have fun,” Kas concludes.
When kids are normally assistant to the classes, 7Hills give the youth advantages like to get their own skateboard or a part of it, an example is that if they help with 10 classes, they will receive wheels, trucks and a board, Wauters said.
Seeing projects like 7Hills really puts a smile to peoples faces, because now you know that in some parts of the world there is a kid that is happy because a teacher brings a skateboard and their willingness to teach them how to use it.
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